Insights and inspiration
Update on Bevan & Bevan
11 March 2014
In a recent case Bevan & Bevan  the Court upheld the parties' long standing informal agreement that the wife keep all of the marital property.
The husband left the relationship after 22 years of marriage to travel the world, while the wife was left to deal with the family, financial crisis, protracted litigation with a relative, two little children and the husband's elderly mother. All these circumstances would not matter, the Court said, if the parties formalised their agreement to divide their property in those 16 years preceding the litigation. But they didn't. Moreover, all those years the husband assured the wife he wanted nothing of their assets.
However, having failed to re-establish himself financially in his new life, the husband filed a property application in the Family Court.
In support of his claim the husband was able to demonstrate his significant contributions to the property preceding the separation, as well as the fact that the parties to a certain extent were still intermingling their finances over the following years. The Court also took into account that at the age of 68 and having some health difficulties, although still earning a good income, the husband was, probably, nearing the end of his working career. The Court further noted he had no material assets, while his debts were extensive.
Balanced against these matters, the wife was nearly 66 years of age and also had limited earning prospects.
Does the outcome of this case mean that any informal understanding between spouses would be conclusive of any later dispute? The Court said it did not. However, it was an important factor to be taken into account in deciding whether it would be just and equitable for the Court to alter the status quo.
Ultimately, the husband's substantial delay in instituting the proceedings and the long standing agreement between the parties were such that the Court concluded it would not be just and equitable to interfere with the existing property interests.
Level 15, 175 Liverpool Street
Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
PO Box 21117
World Square NSW 2002 Australia
The content on this site is not intended to provide legal advice. It is general information only. You should not rely upon it as legal advice. If you would like to discuss anything of interest or concern to you, please contact us. Nothing arising from the information on this site is intended to create a legal relationship between us and any reader.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
175 Liverpool Street Parking Station, Entrance via 26 Nithsdale Street
Phone 1800 7275 464 - Closes at Midnight
Goulburn Street Parking Station, Cnr Goulburn & Elizabeth Streets
Phone 1800 727 5464 - Closes at Midnight